Created By: norsicnumber2nd on September 2, 2012 Last Edited By: lakingsif on April 11, 2015

Denim Pajamas

Because everyone sleeps in their clothes...

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Trope
When characters appear to be wearing clothes, bedclothes that remarkably resemble day clothes, or at least women wearing underwear with their nighties - just to protect the actors' dignity. Or something. This is, in more recent films and TV shows, usually done to tell us something about the character's personality (or, in some cases, just because it's funny). The more practical reason is because actors don't like to not wear clothes. However, when done in older movies, it's because of the Hays Code (Better safe than sorry). Also, poorer characters might sleep in their street clothes because that's all they have; other characters might actually expect to be woken in the middle of the night and have to go places, meet people, urgently. May be a result of the Limited Wardrobe.

This also includes when in other situations articles are worn that wouldn't be in Real Life, e.g. shoes in your bedroom. Applies when people wear pajamas instead of day clothes, too.

  • In comic books, an early issue of Ninja High School depicted one of the female characters sleeping in a not-for-sleeping bra. Readers' letters pointed out how uncomfortable that would be, and creator Ben Dunn admitted he hadn't thought about that.

  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation Data is shown sleeping in uniform in "Phantasms".

  • The Three Stooges would often appear to be wearing pajamas or nightgowns, only to reveal that they have their street clothes on underneath when removing them.

  • In Skyrim, it is possible to remove the clothes that people are wearing when they are asleep.

  • In the Legend of Zelda games, lazy Link is seen sleeping in his tunic during beginning scenes, usually before a fictional creature wakes him up.

  • In Gilligan's Island, the Skipper and Gilligan sleep fully-clothed in their hammocks. Even their sailor caps and shoes. The other castaways have some form of nightclothes.

  • In National Lampoon's Animal House, Flounder wears pajamas under his uniform during ROTC exercises. No explanation is given, though Sergeant Niedermeyer was annoyed they were poking through.

  • A couple of early scenes in the novel Hex by Rhinnanon Lassiter has characters sleeping fully clothed, in at least one case with even their shoes on. (Justified in that they didn't have any nightclothes with them and the bedding in the cheap hotel room they were sleeping in wasn't clean.)

  • Primer does this as an extension of the Limited Wardrobe. Abe and Aaron are always wearing white oxford shirts, ties, and dark slacks--this includes the one time we see Abe sleeping.

  • During a Panicky Expectant Father Flashback episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show we see Rob wearing a full suit including tie under his pajamas. He's been sleeping like that for a week or so, so when Laura's time to go to the hospital comes he can rush on out of there.

  • In Ramona and Beezus, Ramona wears super heavy pajamas under her clothes at school. Beezus also rushes out to check on Ramona selling lemonade (unsuccessfully) in her pajamas, really similar pajamas to the Comic-Con example below.

  • In Wizards of Waverly Place, Alex, her brothers, and Harper can all be seen in their bedrooms, living room, and whilst wearing heavy pajamas, wearing shoes.
    • In a different episode Alex goes to Comic-Con wearing her pajamas as she cannot be bothered to get dressed. Here she is both wearing pajamas instead of clothes and wearing underwear beneath her pajamas. She later gets told she's wearing a really good 'Pajama Girl' costume.

  • This is taken Up to Eleven by Barney in How I Met Your Mother. He wears a Night Tuxedo ('Suitjamas').

Averted if someone is purposefully seen wearing pajamas (and just that) in bed, or goes the whole hog a la Scarlett Johansson in The Island, saying "Women don't normally sleep in a bra. I can't wake up in this scene wearing a bra, it's ridiculous" then wearing the bed-sheet instead.

Sister Trope to 24-Hour Armor.
Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • September 2, 2012
    sigh824
    Taken Up To Eleven with Barney in How I Met Your Mother. He wears a Night Tuxedo.
  • September 2, 2012
    sigh824
    You could probably use that as your image too. http://suitchronicles.com/journal/post/59691/ Aparently, they sell them online now.
  • September 2, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    The Suitjamas! I never even thought of that!
  • September 2, 2012
    SKJAM
    When done in older movies, it's because of the Hays Code. Better safe than sorry.

    Poorer characters might sleep in their street clothes because that's all they have; others might actually expect to be woken in the middle of the night and have to interact with people.
  • September 3, 2012
    NightNymph
    • Especially in the early seasons, Buffy often wore heavy pajamas that covered more of her than her usual clothes, and it was often apparent that she was wearing a bra underneath them.
  • September 4, 2012
    SKJAM
    • An early issue of Ninja High School depicted one of the female characters sleeping in a not-for-sleeping bra. Readers' letters pointed out how uncomfortable that would be, and creator Ben Dunn admitted he hadn't thought about that.
  • September 4, 2012
    Antigone3
  • September 4, 2012
    SneakySquirrel
    Sorry this is kinda natter-y and not adding anything constructive, but... I thought it was normal to wear underwear under nighties ._.;
  • September 4, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    knickers yes, but daytime bras? It's more about unconventional articles anyway (a specially designed tuxedo to wear in bed... where you can't move, Barney).
  • October 1, 2012
    user3301
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Data is shown sleeping in uniform in "Phantasms".

    (I suspect this has appeared a number of times in Star Trek. There would seem to be an extra production burden for that kind of show, because their actors typically wore bespoke futuristic clothing or wore Rubber Forehead Alien makeup that would imply extra design/make-up for more revealing outfits.)
  • October 1, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ We do see pajamas for other crewmen though, so it's likely just Data does that.

    Also, is the ykttw title a common term for this? If so, fine. If not, we should consider a better name.
  • October 2, 2012
    Surenity
    The Three Stooges would often appear to be wearing pajamas or nightgowns, only to reveal that they have their street clothes on underneath when removing them.
  • October 2, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    ^^It's a common term yeh, don't know about other countries though.
  • October 13, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    are there more examples?
  • October 13, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    On Gilligan's Island, the Skipper and Gilligan sleep fully-clothed in their hammocks. Even their sailor caps and shoes. The other castaways have some form of nightclothes -- Mr. Howell has a robe with a night cap and even a teddy bear, while Mrs. Howell wears a nightie. The professor wears pjs, and Mary Ann a nightshirt. Ginger, however, appears to sleep nude, at least by implication; when there's a disturbance in the middle of the night, she's wrapped in only a blanket.
  • October 13, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Honestly, I know a fair number of real people who sleep in daytime bras because they have larger chests and it's uncomfortable for them to sleep without them. I think the underwear thing is nitpicking and heavy pyjamas are normal when it's colder at night than during the day in places like California. You know, where Buffy lives.

    You're trying to put far too many things into one trope and it's just coming across as "Complaining about other people's pyjamas." I'd say skip the examples that aren't characters wearing actual clothing to bed.
  • October 14, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    I sleep in a pajama top and undies throughout winter in a place colder than half of Alaska so don't tell me that heavy pajamas are normal in Californian summers. Just don't, okay. Maybe it's just where I'm from, but it's abnormal if you wear any sort of bra to bed (when not on some sort of school/ camping trip and sharing the place).

    But yeah, okay.
  • October 20, 2012
    Weaver
    A couple of early scenes in the novel Hex by Rhinnanon Lassiter has characters sleeping fully clothed, in at least one case with even their shoes on. Justified in that they didn't have any nightclothes with them and the bedding in the cheap hotel room they were sleeping in wasn't clean.
  • October 20, 2012
    shimaspawn
    <Mod Hat>

    Your choice in sleepware is something that's entirely based on personal preference and tolerance to cold. Your own personal preferences for sleepware being violated does not constitute a trope.

    Now, someone actually wearing normal clothes to bed is a trope, but ditch the "heavy pyjamas" stuff.
  • October 20, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    Okay- did. Still don't understand how Californians don't roast in summer wearing heavy pajamas, though.
  • October 20, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    In National Lampoon's Animal House, Flounder wears pajamas under his uniform during ROTC exercises. No explanation is given, though Sergeant Niedermeyer was annoyed they were poking through.
  • January 4, 2013
    randomsurfer
    During a Panicky Expectant Father Flashback episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show we see Rob wearing a full suit including tie under his pajamas. He's been sleeping like that for a week or so, so when Laura's time to go to the hospital comes he can rush on out of there.
  • January 4, 2013
    MetaFour
    • Primer does this as an extension of the Limited Wardrobe. Abe and Aaron are always wearing white oxford shirts, ties, and dark slacks--this includes the one time we see Abe sleeping.
  • January 5, 2015
    DAN004
    I believe "people sleeping in day-to-day or formal clothes" is tropable enough. Just don't mention the Un Mentionables.
  • January 6, 2015
    paycheckgurl
    • In Teen Titans the characters have been shown to sleep in their uniforms.

    What's the relationship between this trope and Right Through His Pants (particularly a case of that trope that is the morning after)?
  • January 6, 2015
    MetaFour
    Webcomic:
    • In Paranatural, members of the Activity Consortium (the larger organization, not just the school club) exclusively sleep in outfits that look like a dress suit and tie—but they're actually zippered, one-piece pajamas. Max thinks they look ridiculous, but Boss Leader explains they actually serve a practical purpose... before admitting that she makes the others wear them as a joke.
  • January 7, 2015
    ZuTheSkunk
    • This is a common issue in various video games, especially open world ones, where the developers gave NPCs the ability to sleep in beds, but didn't bother having them actually put on any pajamas or even cover themselves with bedsheets. Examples include:
  • January 7, 2015
    DAN004
    Wait, how would this relate to Twenty Four Hour Armor?
  • April 10, 2015
    lakingsif
    ^ because people wear armour to bed as part of Limited Wardrobe? I think that's it.

    If only about wearing clothes to bed, should all the 'unmentionable' mentions go over to Right Through His Pants or something like that?
  • April 11, 2015
    HeroGal2347
    In Back To The Future, Doc and Marty both seem to sleep in their clothes.
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